Nokia’s connection with mobile gaming goes back to the days of the N-Gage and its follow up the N-Gage QD. This was followed by the software only N-Gage 2.0 which was poised to become the next big service. Sadly that was not to be.
Several years down the line comes the Nokia X7 , the follow up to the X6 which comes with a gaming bent. With a decidedly space age design , does it have what it takes to be the next big Nokia ?
Hardware / Design
The Nokia X7 has a mono block form factor. The front is dominated by a large 4″ AMOLED display. The back is curved to fit nicely in the palm. The corners of the device have been shaped like racing vents which further lend to its gaming oriented ‘feel’.
Sadly only two of the four grilles actually have speakers behind them. The speakers on the other hand output top-notch audio with no distortion at all.
The AMOLED display is quite impessive and is sufficiently bright to view even in broad daylight. Sadly it is not a CBD panel which definitely improves the black levels of the screen.
The design of the X7 is more about looks than functionality. This becomes very evident when you try to access the SIM card and microSD slots. It is an absolute pain to retrieve the cards.
The bent over camera button is also hard to reach over the edge of the phone. Adjusting volume on the X7 is not an easy job and not something we really enjoyed doing which is a shame considering multimedia is at the heart of this handset.
The top of the phone has a 3.5mm jack and a combined power and screen lock button. The design of the lock button is rather interesting. The 3.5mm jack also doubles up as a composite video output. HDMI output is definitely missed in a device aimed at multimedia junkies.
Software and Gaming
The Nokia X7 is the first Symbian phone to ship with Anna onboard. What it brings is a brand new splitscreen QWERTY keyboard , smooth scrolling homescreens and a brand new browser.
Of course there are loads of improvements under the hood as well. Overall Anna substantially improves the Symbian experience on the Nokia X7.
The Anna update also allows for Swype to work in the portrait mode which is something that more than a few have been waiting for.
The browser on the Nokia X7 supports tabbed browsing and is generally much faster than the one on previous versions of the OS. However considering how bad the browsing experience is on Symbian that is not saying much. If you want to do any form of real browsing , do yourself a favor and install Opera on your phone ASAP.
Anna brings with it the brand new ‘squircle’ icons. These new icons are supposed to unify the experience across Nokia platforms. Infact they can already be seen on the Harmattan powered Nokia N9. What Anna does not improve on is the general OS experience. Symbian still starts slowing down once you try to do any type of heavy multitasking on it. The low resolution of the display stretched across 4″ results in massive icons and blocks of text. In short , not appealing AT ALL.
The OS package includes a few games including NFS Shift. The saving grace of every Symbian phone ie the Nokia Maps software is included as well. The gaming experience on the X7 is average at best. The selection of HD games does not come close to that on Android let alone iOS. Owe it to poor optimization or the slow processor , several games tended to be rather sluggish during gameplay.
Symbian had its day and the February 11th decision put the final nail in the coffin. Halfway through 2011 and Nokia’s Q2 results later it is clear that Symbian + High end do not mix. The upcoming Harmattan powered N9 and Nokia’s WP7 handset should hopefully do better though.
The camera on the Nokia X7 is of the EDoF variety. It lacks any sort of macro image taking capabilities.
Distant shots however are passable. The quality of video captured by the X7 is quite good.
Battery life as on any other Symbian phone is fantastic. Under normal conditions , the phone should quite easily last you two days. Even heavy usage will allow you to get atleast one day of usage out of the handset. On a video loop test , the Nokia X7 lasted almost 6 hours which should allow you to watch atleast 2 movies back to back before the phone runs out of power.
The Nokia X7 has fantastic looking hardware , indeed the phone gets heads turning whenever you pull it out of your pocket. But behind those stealth fighter looks is an OS which is not really competitive in the high end. There are too many competitors for the Nokia X7 from within Nokia’s own stable.
The N8 which is definitely a superior product with an excellent camera , 16GB of internal storage is cheaper. For a bit more you can get the Nokia E7 which has a fantastic QWERTY keyboard. So where exactly does the X7 stand and why should you buy it ? If design really matters to you and you’re all about gaming then the X7 is your handset otherwise we really can’t recommend it.
Rating : 6/10
2. Loud , Distortion Free Speakers
3. Symbian Anna
1. Still Symbian
2. EDOF Camera
3. No HDMI Output
4. No Internal Storage